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Mind Mapping for Problem Solving
<strong>Mind Mapping for Problem Solving</strong>

Mind Mapping for Problem Solving

  • Mind Map Your Way out of Problems

Have you ever used mind mapping in a brainstorming session or for problem solving? If so, you know how powerful it is as a visual tool. If not, this article will give you enough information for you to get started.

What Is Mind Mapping?

Mind mapping is a way of gaining a visual representation of a subject or problem, multiple related subjects, and interlinkages. A form of mind mapping was used as far back as the 3rd century BCE, and Leonardo da Vinci also used it for note taking. In the 1960s, British psychologist Tony Buzan popularized it, especially for business. Today, you can get mind mapping software although many people just use paper and pen or different colored markers. 

How Mind Mapping Works for Problem Solving

You start with the central problem you are trying to solve. 

1. Take a piece of paper and write what you think the problem is in the center and draw a circle around it. For example, my team is not meeting its sales goals this quarter. 

2. Then begin to brainstorm possible causes, such as staff turnover, lack of proper training, poor sales skills, and so on. Keep doing this until you run out of ideas.

3. Draw a circle around each possible cause and connect it to the center circle with a line. This gives you a visual representation of the problem and its possible causes. 

4. Next focus on each cause and brainstorm possible solutions for it. Again, draw a circle around it and connect it to its cause. For example, lack of training could be solved by scheduling workshops. 

5. Keep doing this until you have a complete picture of the problem, its related causes, and solutions. 

6. Now look for connections between solutions and causes and connect them with an arrow. These links can help you see where one solution might address more than one cause. For example, you may discover that training will address more than one cause for low sales. The mind map allowed you to discover this immediately.

This example is a simplified way of using mind mapping; mind mapping software makes larger, more complex mind maps easier to create and manage. 

Mind Mapping Works

Once you have a complete mind map of the problem and have identified possible solutions, you can mind map each solution to identify risks, rewards, required resources, obstacles, advocates, adversaries, and so on. This helps you visualize the outcome of each solution and lets you consider all factors involved with it.

Mind maps are powerful business tools to help you be more creative and positively productive. In addition to problem solving, mind mapping is a great way to generate ideas for new business opportunities and new products and services, organize large documents like a manual, and design the architecture of a website.

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